LA LIVE is an experience, that’s for sure. It’s located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles in between the Staples Center, LA Convention Center and the Microsoft Theater. I drove down there to taste some of the new menu items at Tom’s Urban, a restaurant in the complex.
When I arrived, Microsoft Plaza was full of excitement as people were celebrating the Los Angeles Sparks, our local women’s basketball team. An event was taking place with hip hop bands and fans dressed in purple “Sparks” tee shirts. The wild and often loud entertainment center is surrounded by tall skyscrapers and electronic billboards.
Tom’s Urban is a spacious gastropub with a wide variety of food. TV screens are scattered throughout and social media engagement is encouraged. Use the hashtags #tomtvla and #upshow to see your Twitter or Instagram profile displayed on every single screen. I was sitting with a group of media writers and ended up being number 2 in social engagement as we were about to leave. Not bad for a 62-year-old social media junkie competing with millennials.
I started a new exercise program the day of the tasting and had my Fitbit tucked into my bra. I have it synced to my phone so I can input everything I eat. It counts my steps and then tells me how many calories I can consume based on my activity. To say I blew it the first day would be an understatement, but the tasting sure was heavenly.
The wait staff brought us punch bowls filled with Blueberry Moscow Mule and tin cups to drink them in. What better way to start a tasting than with a sublimely crafted cocktail?
The menu at Tom’s Urban is designed to please all tastes, but at our sampling, a vegan would have found it frustrating. Luckily, for me, I have no food restrictions and can happily say I tried a little of each.
Our sampling of Tom’s Urban new menu items
Click on images to view full-size
Ginger Chicken Potstickers – I couldn’t have just one.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts – I want this recipe but they said it was was a secret. . . Darn!
Mini Mac n’ Cheese Pot – The ultimate in comfort food. If given the chance, I would have eaten the entire bowl.
Pork Belly Bahn Mi Street Tacos – Yes, you’re reading that right – This was the first time I ever tried pork belly and it could be addicting.
Short Ribs n’ Grits – They were tender as can be and wonderful on top of grits.
Nashville Hot Chicken and Cornbread – This dish made me want to go back to Nashville.
Dessert put me in a food coma
Campfire Brownie + Cookie + S’mores – If you were ever a Girl Scout, you’ve eaten S’mores – Tom’s Urban S’mores are truly decadent. One blogger stuffed 2 plates of this into a to-go box to eat later on. She said it was for her roommate but I bet she stashed it away for herself. My Fitbit would have blown up if I did that, but she was a tiny girl in her 20’s and can handle it. LOL
Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Can I just say “Divine.”
What I love about foodie events is that die-hard’s like me come to them. There weren’t too many picky eaters at this soirée. Tom’s Urban has a relaxed, fun atmosphere, a creative cocktail bar, party areas, and plenty of space.
Parking at LA LIVE
If you ever come down to LA Live, The Staples Center, The Convention Center, The Microsoft Theater or any other attraction in that part of downtown, be aware that parking isn’t cheap. It cost me $27 for only a few hours. Some of the establishments there validate but call ahead to be sure. You can park in the East Garage (Lot E, Enter on Olympic Blvd) or the West Garage. (Lot W, Gates E & F – Enter on Georgia St. and turn on West Road ) There are also cheaper lots nearby within walking distance. The area surrounding LA LIVE can be dicey but is well patrolled. It’s reasonably safe but it’s always more fun to bring a buddy rather than go downtown alone.
LA LIVE is now offering free lunch parking Monday – Friday. Park in either the East or West Garage and then ask for a parking validation from Tom’s Urban.
If you don’t want to drive downtown the 7th Street Metro subway station is only 3 blocks away.
Now that you’re drooling from looking at my food pics I hope you’ll stop by Tom’s Urban and LA LIVE if you’re in downtown Los Angeles. I guarantee the management and staff will make you feel at home.
Tom’s Urban is located at:
1011 S. Figueroa St. B 101
Los Angeles, California 90015
PHONE: (213) 746-8667
Have you been to downtown Los Angeles? What is your favorite thing to do there? Please leave a comment below.